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We all need a quiet place to regulate from time to time. This is becoming even more important as our classrooms are full of students with behavior and mental health concerns. By designating a break space in your classroom, students can learn to step away to regulate their emotions or comfort themselves.

It's essential to teach students how to use the break space, as well as coping skills and emotional regulation skills that they can use when they do need to step away from the chaos of the classroom. In addition, it's important that the break space in your classroom is not punitive. It's a positive, calm area that students can visit as needed.

If you are looking for a way to teach students to self-regulate, here are five must-haves to create a calm and peaceful break space.


Comfortable Seating

You want your classroom break space to be comforting. One way to achieve this is by adding some comfortable seating options. You can use a bean bag, a floor mat, some floor pillows, or even some cozy chairs.


Many students need a tool to regulate their emotional or sensory needs. I like to have a fidget bin in my break area with a variety of different fidgets for students to use to help them calm down and be ready to return to class. Here are some of my favorites.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

I love to have a pair of noise-canceling headphones in our break space because often students are overwhelmed with sensory input and need to block it all out. This way, the headphones are available when needed and students can use them as a tool to help regulate their bodies.

Emotional Regulation Posters or Breathing Posters

Your classroom break space should include teaching tools, like posters or check-ins. Here are a few options that are available for free in the resource library.

Emotions Books

Books are an excellent tool to teach students self-regulation and coping skills. Here are some great options for your break space.

Once you've got a designated space in your classroom, you'll want to explicitly teach students how to use it, including how to ask for a break, how to use the tools to calm down, and how to transition to the break space. I hope this helps you create a calming break space for your special education classroom!




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